Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Best Day of My Life

The Best Day of My Life.

As he laid in total dependence on the breathing tubes and machines that were pumping his heart and causing his lungs to inhale and exhale, I prayed with a ferocious determination to speed up the hours and possibly the days until my father would be well again. "Dear Lord, I know that I am not always as faithful as you would want me to be. I know that there are many times that I have conveniently forgotten or ignored you. I'm sure it is quite sad that so many of us wait until we are this desperate before asking you for your help." Oddly, as my father labored for air in front of my teary-eyed mother and siblings and me, I never realized that this would turn out to be the best day of my life.Sometimes in life we all need a wake-up call. This was mine. I had been taking life for granted, ignoring my own health and assuming that my parents would always be around. Heart attacks only happen to others. Death is for other people. Suddenly, that day after my father's quadruple heart bypass surgery in August, 1978, I grew up a bit. The foggy existence that had been a part of my life had lifted as the reality of life and death started to set in. "I can't take life for granted anymore. Prayer cannot be given only when I am in need or when I am selfish enough to need God in a moment like this."Prayer had a difficult time making any sense to me during those first 24 hours after my father's surgery. It seemed that the right words would not pop into my brain. So, spontaneously I started to talk with God, my creator. I started to beg for his intercession in my father's healing. I made promises that ordinarily would not have entered my mind, but suddenly there was a greater good - that my father's healing was more important than my procrastination any longer. "Dear God Almighty....I know you are out there....somewhere. I don't always hear you. I get mad sometimes that I can't see you. But dear Lord, if you can hear me, please give my Dad life. I can't lose him yet. There's too much I have not said to him and too much for him to do yet. Please, if you will, make him well. And God, I can't make any promises that I will not keep so all I can say right now is that I will try really hard to keep you in my life in some way every single day"The twenty-four hours had passed. Mom and I walked into Dad's room the next morning and he was sitting up in bed with a big, bright smile. The breathing tube was gone. Only some wires and IVs were hooked up, but my dad was alive!!! I hugged him as best as I could, avoiding all of the hook ups. When I went from his room about ten minutes later, I found myself in the hospital chapel. "Thank you, Lord. You've heard my plea. I love you for loving me and caring enough to hear my prayers. I know Dad will be fine now. Thank you for giving me some more time with him." This was without a doubt, the best day of my life.Yes, the best day of my life was the day that God gave me and my family more time to enjoy loving our dad. That was in 1978. Although he went through another heart surgery in 1989 and cancer treatment for an eye malignancy, he lived until August 16, 1994 when he was tragically killed in an auto accident - when God called him home. I am so thankful that we had sixteen more years with dad after the best day of my life. I am still remembering the Lord in my life because of what He had given me.Losing my dad in the car accident was really painful; however, at age 75, I knew that he had led a very fulfilled life, having had done far more than many other men with his hard work. It's still amazing to me that God knew that we were not able to have coped with his loss so many years before. The extra time with him gave him a chance to meet new grandchildren and to have had experiences with each of us that we can keep tender in our hearts forever. Yes, August 16, 1978 was the best day of my life - when God answered my prayer.

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